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Western film theory is generally subdivided into classical theory and contemporary theory Contemporary theory consists of a theoretical system which employs psychoanalysis ideological critique and feminism to interpret cinematic forms It originated in the mid-sixties and flourished in the 1970s It was first introduced to China in the early 1980s and brought in as a complete theoretical system a few years later Peaking in the late 1980s it should have taken up an important position in the development of Chinas film theory Classical film theory had developed very slowly in China and by the end of the 1970s it had acquired the following features It was a theory about social politics not about art or cinema and frequently used as a tool in political struggle directly serving the politics of the day Ke 66 Mikroulis 2 Its artistic theory was insipid simple and ossified consisting merely of theories about production transplanted from philosophical dogmas China had been closed for a long time and there had been little international exchange borrowing or debate Therefore widespread assimilation of the scholarly achievements of foreign film theory had been impossible and numerous lacunae and defects existedKe 66 Toward the end of the 1970s China chose reform and opening to the outside world Major changes in film theory were inevitable in order to adapt to the needs of social reform and cinematic innovation and to enrich and improve theory itself Importing foreign film theory and changing Chinese cinematic concepts were also inevitable The adoption of any film theory by society is not random but socially and historically determined A society invariably adopts theories suitable for social development independent of any individuals will Mikroulis 3 As contemporary film theory was being given a cold reception making up for what had been missed in classical theory proceeded on a grand scale and along the following lines Establishing cinematic concepts by exploring the specificity of the cinema
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